County of Residence: Allegheny. I moved to Hicksville Ohio for about two months in 2014 after a bad break up. I didn’t have any local friends anymore so I moved in with my long distance best friend.. We will just say long distance is very different than living with the person. Came home and haven’t left PA again… except for a mission trip I took a month ago to Zimbabwe for a month and a half where I lived with a family out in the bush. There’s that too.
Preferred Pronouns: She, her, hers
How do you describe your identity? I am Bisexual, white, and christian (united methodist)
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? I grew up in a household where my parents got on me about my appearance often. Saying not to eat this or to go exercise. This caused me to be very concerned about my image and care a lot about what others think/say about me. I knew in elementary school I liked girls but only 3 months ago did I tell my family I do and got my first girlfriend. I struggled with accepting this.. I still do. I just wanted to be like everyone else, “normal”. In middle school I would get this wave of disgust with myself when I’d look at another girl and think she’s cute. I would hate myself for thinking it. I thought that way for over 15 years, I still feel disgusted with myself sometimes. Its hard to break old habits.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? I wouldn’t say I’m fully out but I’m working on it. If I’m talking to people and they ask if I’m seeing anyone I am nervous at first to say I have a girlfriend but I do and I am proud of myself after. I need to get past my concerns on what other people think of me. I need to work on what I think of me. We are “official” on social media and both our families know also.
Tell me about the first LGBTQ person whom you met. What impact did they have on your life? The first LGBTQ person I knew would be my older sister. We never got along and we fought often so when she came out about 12 years ago I was shocked but we never talked about it. I knew early on that I was interested in other girls but I didn’t want to accept it. I just wanted to be “normal” and nothing like her. I only in the past few months came out to my family and got my first girlfriend..
Past or present, favorite LGBTQ character or creator in television, film or literature? Please tell us why. Pretty much everyone off of orange is the new black. They do what they want and don’t care what others think or say.
How do you stay informed about LGBTQ issues? Facebook
Describe your geographical community. Suburban. Friendly. I live in a very diverse and accepting neighborhood and we have community celebrations on holidays and picnics. It’s really nice.
Describe your local or regional LGBTQ community. Well 2 houses up from me there’s a very kind gay couple with the NICEST yard for blocks. I love going to Cruze Bar in downtown Pittsburgh also and seeing/meeting other people.
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your identity? Specifically, in a job setting, when applying for housing or while in public. Not applicable, I don’t have much experience with this.
Tell us about your access to health care in Western PA. Has it been LGBTQ competent (or not?) Not applicable
Are there issues impacting your LGBTQ neighbors that aren’t visible or part of the local dialogue? Not applicable
What would you like to see elected officials do to improve life for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians? I’m not sure, I’m new to all of this
Please share a lived experience, anecdote or fact about life as an LGBTQ person in your community. God loves all of his children. We are all made the way he planned. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Beyond discrimination, what other barriers create challenges for your LGBTQ neighbors? Having a child from the DNA of same sex parents. Lets make this happen!
What LGBTQ friendly resources are available for your neighbors? Hotlines, internet sites, gay bars, outreaches etc.
What is your greatest fear for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? Not being accepted
What is your greatest hope for the LGBTQ community in Western Pennsylvania? To stand strong and support each other.
What can allies do to support your LGBTQ community? I’m not sure
How can gay men and lesbians support the bisexual, transgender and queer members of our community? accept us
What motivated you to take part in this project? I hope that someone somewhere can relate and not feel so alone.
Finally, what question should I have asked? Please also share your answer. Not applicable
Thank you, Alexa.
Read the entire AMPLIFY LGBTQ Q&A archive.
AMPLIFY LGBTQ is a series of blog posts designed to give a “signal boost” to the voices of our LGBTQ neighbors throughout Western Pennsylvania. We are using a Q&A format and will minimize editing their responses.
Our intent is to highlight the voices of marginalized members of our community who are not always invited to the table or whose voices are not heard. These are glimpses in to the lived experiences of LGBTQ people in Western Pennsylvania as told in their own voices. If you would like to participate, please email me pghlesbian at gmail or visit the online Q&A.